Shades of Poland

Jordan the Great Water Blessing

ONE OF THE MORE COLORFUL TRADITIONS STILL OBSERVED IN POLAND IS "JORDAN" THE GREAT WATER BLESSING AT EPIPHANY/THEOPHANY, THE FINAL HOLYDAY OF THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. IT COMMEMORATES CHRIST'S BAPTISM IN THE JORDAN, BY ST. JOHN THE FORERUNNER, WHICH WAS A MANIFESTATION OF THE HOLY TRINITY. IT IS OBSERVED ON JAN. 19TH ON THE CIVIL CALANDER (JAN. 6TH ON THE JULIAN CALENDAR). IT IS CELEBRATED TODAY BY ORTHODOX AND BYZANTINE CATHOLICS OF POLAND AND IS A RELIC OF ITS FIRST SLAVONIC-RITE BAPTISM BY THE CYRILO-METHODIAN MISSION, APPROXIMATELY 1150 YEARS AGO WHEN IT EVANGELIZED NASCENT POLISH TERRITORIES OF LITTLE POLAND, THE...

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Carnival Season in Old Poland

Carnival season, also known as zapusty in Poland, is a period of time of celebration preceding the Christian season of Lent, typically starting on the Feast of the Three Kings (Epiphany) which is celebrated on January 6th, and lasting until Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. The origins of Carnival celebrations can be traced back to the Middle Ages, where the tradition was brought to Poland from Western Europe and integrated into local customs. For a short period of time, traditional rules and social distinctions were set aside. The common people mingled with the...

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Remembering the Departed

All Saints and All Souls days in Poland As the days of fall grow shorter and the nights longer; as the trees shed their leafy garb before the cold, swirling winds of autumn, and cover the earth with quilts of rich reds, browns, oranges, and yellows; as the frosty, damp weather chills our bones, and mother nature seems to fall asleep we naturally become reflective of our own mortality. Our Slavic–Polish ancestors, instinctively intuited that earthly life does not terminate with death—that the spirit endures. Hence they celebrated Dziady, the Feast of the Forefathers, on the night from October 31 to November...

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Design Inspiration: Łowicz, Poland

  ŁOWICZ FOLK COSTUME Łowicz, a small picturesque town in central Poland, is located in the Skierniewice Voivodeship, at the edge of Bolimowski Landscape Park on the river Bzura. It is most known for its abundance of breathtaking folklore, and its regional costume is considered to be one of the most beautiful in all of Poland.   The headgear is a very important element in the female Łowicz folk costume.  Both unmarried and married women wore square (75 cm) kerchiefs tied at the back of their heads. They are woolen (szalinówki), silk (jedwabnice) or linen decorated with embroidery. For extra embellishment, flowers were pinned on the sides. The jewellery in the...

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Before Valentine’s Day -Village Courting in Old Poland

As Valentine’s Day draws near, it is strange to imagine  a time in history, that this special "holiday of love" was  completely unknown to a majority of the world. Although the Catholic and Orthodox Churches venerated the early Christian priest-martyr, St. Valentine for centuries;  a celebration in honour of lovers, with greeting cards, chocolate hearts, and red roses, was almost unfamiliar to most of Europe until recent times.    The Valentine’s holiday of lovers originated during the Renaissance in Elizabethan England, where the tradition of courtly love flourished.  From there, it came to America. In Poland, Valentine's Day or Walentynki (vah-len-TIN-kee) actually did not make it’s appearance until after the...

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